Essential iPad for Educators

Are you an educator who is looking to use your iPad more in the classroom?

If you answered Yes then this resource should help by teaching you some of the basics of using the iPad as more of a productivity tool and less as an entertainment device.


  • This resource will outline the basic skills needed to become a better iPad user.
  • This resource will also help the reader determine and choose the best apps for their classroom, subject, and learning objectives.

The Apple TV

(Have your district) Invest in an Apple TV to help get the most out of your iPad in the classroom. The Apple TV serves as a media hub for all your iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, and even an iMac or Macbook. This works great in a 1:1 iPad environment. The Apple TV lets you stream multimedia from your devices to the Apple TV and then to a projector or HD Television. Without an Apple TV, you are tethered to a projector or a TV by cord. Using the Apple TV gives you the ability to roam your classroom as you teach. In addition, anyone on an iPad can share their screen on the big screen.

Apple TV

The Apple TV

Use the Apple TV to:

  • Project a larger image on the screen like a Document Camera
  • Show Videos or Movies
  • Take notes with your students
  • Display student work

Use a Stylus or Keyboard

The touch features of the iPad are nice, but a pen stylus is handy for using your iPad like a writing or drawing tablet. You can find a stylus nowadays between $10-$50. A wireless keyboard is also a good idea because it can turn your iPad into more of a laptop type device.

Take Advantage of Multitasking Gestures

Unlock the true power of your iPad by multitasking. You must first activate this feature under Settings>>General>>Multitasking Gestures.

The Multitasking Gestures are:

  • Switch between Open Apps by swiping with 4 fingers either left or right on your screen. You must have more than one app open for this to work.
  • Return to your Home Screen by pinching in with all fingers.
  • Bring up the Task Bar by swiping up with 4 fingers. You can also pinch out with your fingers to bring up the Task Bar.

Turn on Rotation Lock

Under Settings>>General

Under Settings>>General

Lock the Rotation of your iPad when you teach to prevent your iPad from switching back and fourth from Portrait to Landscape view. You can lock the rotation of your iPad with the Side Switch. First, set the Side Switch (might be set as Mute) to Lock Rotation under Settings>>General. The Side Switch is located on the right side above the volume controls.

Organize all those Apps!

Organizing your Apps in folders will minimize the amount of time spent searching. Also, keep all your most used Apps on your Home Screen. To move your apps around, Tap and Hold the app until it starts to wiggle. You can then move your apps around. Move an app over another app to automatically create a folder.

Take Screen Shots

Press the Home Button and Power/Lock Button (the switch on the top edge of the device) at the same time to take a screen shot of what is currently on your iPad screen. This will come in handy when we discuss some different apps below.

Searching for the Right Apps

You can use the App Store on your iPad to search for new apps, but it’s much easier to use Google or Yahoo to do your searches. When deciding to download an app, be sure to read the reviews by other customers. Some apps are free while others can cost a dollar or two.

Some Essential Apps for Educators

Here are a few essential apps that every educator should have on their iPad.

  • Cloud Apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and many others. Use the cloud to move files to and from your iPad.
  • Prezi Viewer lets you play your Prezi on your iPad. Make your Prezi on your laptop and play it from your iPad.
  • Note Taking Apps can help you organize your notes and teaching materials. Evernote is very popular (and free). Other apps are available that allow you to take handwritten notes (great with that stylus).
  • Video Chat with others around with world with Skype. FaceTime also works great.
  • Cut down on typing by using Dragon Dictate or other apps to change your Speech to Text.
  • Interactive Whiteboard and Chalkboard apps give you the ability to write up on the board by using your iPad as a wireless drawing tablet. You can also take a snapshot of your screen to share with your students later. ShowMe is a great free app.
  • A PDF Reader like Adobe Reader is handy for reading PDF documents.
  • Teaching Resource apps like TED Talks or Khan Academy are great places to find inspiring videos.
  • Productivity Software like Pages, Keynote, and Numbers is a great way to create and edit documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
  • Engage your students by using a Student Response System like Socrative.
  • Apps for Your Subject or Classroom. These consists of apps specific to your subject or your particular classroom.

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